Monday, July 11, 2011

Another use for pastry bags...

I've been craving white pizza lately.  I love white pizza.  I was first introduced to it on my family's yearly trips to the Outer Banks.  Corolla Pizza is a (to-go only) dive on 12N - we always stopped there for lunch on our traditional drive up to the Currituck Beach Lighthouse area.  They have benches outside, so we'd order our white pizza and eat outside on the bench or in the car.  We weren't the only ones doing it, either.  That tourists are willing to sit in their cars to eat this pizza rather than at a table says a lot about their cuisine.

I don't have white pizza very often because I don't want to ruin my chances of building up a craving for it.  If you eat something all the time, it feels less like a treat and more routine.  Not cool.  I have that craving now.  So I acted upon it.

The only problem with my white pizza craving is that the recipe I use for the filling makes so much that I always end up with extra.  I know, you're thinking "just 1/2 the recipe, dummy."  I know you're right, but I just never do.  It's one of those things you only think about when you're pissed off because you have so much leftover; not when you're craving it or buying the ingredients for it.  Kinda like that expired system password that you only think about when you actually need to get into that particular system NOW, but tomorrow after your coworker pulled the information for you, you no longer think about resetting that password...since it'll be months before you need it again.  Am I right?  Amen.

I decided to preempt the extra filling dilemma this time by making stuffed shells, something I've never made before.  The recipe on the Mueller's jumbo shells box is the one I use for the white pizza filling anyways, so I'd just have to figure out how to actually stuff the shells.  Couldn't be too hard, I thought.

I prepared myself for the to-be-cooked shells by assembling my drying rack, which consisted of a cookie cooling rack, cookie sheet, and paper towel.  I'm sure a paper towel or regular towel straight on the counter would work, but I learned I am too sloppy for that method when I made tres leches cupcakes and ended up with this mess:

This worked better for me :)

I boiled the noodles for about 8 minutes and then scooped them out of the water, rather than dumping them into a strainer.  I thought they'd get trashed and broken when they hit the strainer.

While the noodles were cooling/drying, I prepared the filling:

  • 2 cups low-fat ricotta cheese
  • 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1 3/4 cups shredded parmesan cheese
  • 1 tbsp or so of Italian seasoning blend
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 package frozen spinach (cooked and drained)
Once that was ready I filled up a piping bag - I thought it would be easier to pipe the filling into the shells, rather than figuring out how to hold the shell open, scoop the filling into a spoon, and then insert it into the shell all with 2 hands.  This way I can hold the shell open with one hand, pipe with the other, and I'm done!  Plus it would give me more precision by putting the piping tip inside the shell so I didn't get cheese everywhere!
Quick!  Call the blurry police!

Now it's time to assemble!  I sprayed a 9x13 casserole dish with cooking spray and poured a thin layer of spaghetti sauce into it.  I piped and piped and piped some more until my hand was nearly petrified into a claw shape from holding that piping bag!  Whine!   

Note to self:  get a round tip, rather than using the star tip

I added the shells to the pan one at a time - after texting my friend, Sharon, for help.  She's Italian.  Pardon the stereotype, but I knew she'd know the correct method for putting the shells into the pan - open side up? down?  to the side?  To the side wins!  Except I'm not sure I executed that very well.  I tried :)  Thanks Sharon!

I spread the rest of the spaghetti sauce evenly on top, and then added a layer of cheese...then I put that mama jama in the fridge until tonight.

I was leery of preparing these yesterday and cooking today, but Sharon said it would be okay.  Who wants to come home after a long day of work and cook stuffed shells?  Not this girl.  Instead, I just had to pull the pan out of the fridge and pop it in the oven.

30 minutes later, I have this:

This guy wasn't protected from the elements very well and got scorched.  He still tasted good though:

Stuffed shells = success!

Now I need to find a way to use that extra filling.......................oh yeah, white pizza!  But that will have to wait until tomorrow.  Or Wednesday, because now I'm craving hot dogs.


  1. I'm giving these a shot tomorrow. :D Can't wait!

  2. Tryng it right now. Wish I would've read whole post first. I just tossed the little bit of extra filling. My hubby would've loved this for pizza night tomorrow.